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Older Americans Reauthorization Technical Corrections Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


OLDER AMERICANS REAUTHORIZATION TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS ACT -- (Senate - March 27, 2007)

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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, the Older Americans Technical Corrections Act of 2007 that I introduced today with Senator Enzi and Senator Roberts will restore States' ability to obtain Department of Agriculture commodities under the Nutrition Services Incentive Program. Through this program seniors obtain their meals through organizations in the community such as Meals on Wheels.

Last year, during the Older Americans Act Reauthorization negotiations, the Department of Agriculture asked Congress to make a change to this program. It was not made clear to us at the time that, under this change, States could not continue to receive commodities through the Department of Agriculture.

Without this correction, thousands of seniors in Massachusetts and a number of other States will be affected. Department of Agriculture commodities are much less expensive than what States can purchase on the commercial market and are of higher quality. And they're less expensive. The State distributing agency in Massachusetts has calculated that purchasing similar commodities would cost $1 million more a year which would lead to 500,000 fewer meals served.

Six States in addition to Massachusetts have been obtaining USDA commodities for several years. The program is especially important to our States, to their partners, and to the seniors who obtain their meals through this program.

I urge our colleagues in both the Senate and the House to pass this legislation without delay.

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